If we want to be free to live our lives mostly as we see fit then government needs to be curtailed to a rump of operations, which I tackle in the next article. In this article for brevity I will concentrate on the basic setup of central government and leave the constitution of local government alone.
So let us look at how we could change the basic setup of the central government to suit its reduced role in our lives.
House of Commons
I see little need to change the number of MPs. Best left alone. Apart from the quality of our current troughing MPs and debate, the basic system is sound enough and to promise to radically change it would scare off most voters.
With a severe curtailment in areas of control there would be less reason to meet. In fact reducing the time the House of Commons sits would really concentrate minds on the most important problems.
MPs have turned themselves into social workers to justify their existence and that needs to be stopped. They will be there to represent their constituency on a narrow range of issues. Also it may be possible to make it expenses only.
House of Lords
There should be one chamber to rule the country, a democratically elected one. Two chambers, unless totally different in roles, shouldn’t be elected. And I see no need for two chambers with totally different areas of life to oversee.
The House of Lords has evolved by having to gradually grant more and more powers to us oiks. They believe they need to allow us to have a bit of fun with the big stick, but they should keep us in check as they, by right of birth and patronage, know better.
Having said that, for me a second chamber would be one of the ‘worldly wise’; those that have probably allowed the next generation to now have their turn, but are able to look at legislation and suggest where the statutes are badly worded and need amending.
It also may be good for them to debate an issue before the House of Commons does and give a structure of the issues involved.
Some other duties the House of Lords performs may well be best left untouched – due to the author’s ignorance, rather than any positive reason. The author imagines that a lot could be done away with completely.
My suggestion is the assembly of peers when the members are not for life. There will be Law Lords, largest landowners & property owners, union leaders, trade & profession leaders, the police chiefs (I know), and leaders of faith. Other concerned parties could also attend by invite if pertinent to the legislation being passed.
These would be seen as grave essential duties. The head of any organisation that is of consequence to warrant a seat in the House of Lords will be expected to attend (or prison!) when the house is in session.
A minimum age of 40 or even 50 is something to consider but that has repercussions on who an organisation would wish to have as their head so probably isn’t feasible in actuality and would be against OFT’s principles of not getting involved in other people’s affairs.
It could also prove to be that this chamber is superfluous to requirements entirely.
Head of State
Currently the Queen. Our ruler has soft power due to years of experience, and she has been a great asset. The ruler also has a spiritual side due to being the head of the Church of England. No one is going to get rid of her before her death or abdication.
Keeping in mind the abyss we’d be staring into should Will have only fired blanks; let us have a look at a few alternatives for when Liz passes her mortal coil.
Note: All the below assume the role and powers of the current monarch would be given to the new Head of State.
Will almost certainly be a politician whose career has ended in the Commons. Think of a president Blair and that idea is finished.
No President; Power Rests with the PM
There is an argument that the Prime Minister should be allowed to get on and rule as they wish. To me this has a few issues.
- The army should be loyal to the country, not a politician. Easier with a separate Head of State with limited powers.
- When hosting foreign dignitaries, it is good to have a host that can oversee events while the PM gets on with matters in hand.
- It allows for an outside mechanism to oversee change of governments.
A Priest King/Queen Selected from the General Population
My proposal, for want of any better suggestion is to take after the Buddhists and look for someone on the day a monarch dies, someone of a set age say 5 years old, and if they can show themselves worthy of character, they will rule during their lifetime. There will be great rulers & some not so great, but hopefully they will rule for a long time and be far more experienced than most countries’ heads of state even by the time they are twenty. After that, they will be a national advantage. The chosen one would be naturally spiritual in nature – without necessarily being religious, and set a good role model for people to follow.
Why 5 years old? It should be possible to know a child’s nature by that point, but for it not to have been moulded to a detrimental effect for the role in front. If we looked for eighteen year olds say, then a vast number of youths would be trying to second guess what is being looked for if the current monarch’s death looked imminent, it just wouldn’t work.
The chosen one can enjoy the trappings of head of state, but any immediate family will be barred from being the next ruler – say to third cousins. Their descendants will no doubt still benefit handsomely.
It will also take politics out of the role. Another benefit we have with the current Priest-Monarch; but a lesson her heir hasn’t yet taken on board…
Finally it goes without saying that the monarch would alternate between King and Queen.
The Most Bonkers Idea of All
Instead of creating a new priest monarch from the general populace, on the death of the current one, we could select a family and make them and their descendants priest-rulers for all perpetuity. The benefits of this idea are apparently manyfold and obvious – just not to me.
In reality, a real party would no doubt keep the status quo! It would scare off too many voters to suggest anything different at the moment – although after Charles’ death the appetite may well be greater.
Policies drawn from above
These are purely about the basic constitution – not the day to day roles governments will perform, which as stated in the introduction, will be tackled in the next article.
- Number of MPs to stay the same – but with much reduced roles – possibly unpaid
- The House of Lords to be a chamber of the wise, not to challenge the House of Commons, but to highlight obvious mistakes in legislation and to publicly debate issues and give structured advice before debates in the House of Commons.
- Both houses to sit for say only 50 days a year.
- On Elizabeth’s death, a Buddhist-style search will be made for a successor. The royal family will come to an end as a political unit. At least give it a go for a couple of rulers to see how it works.
NEXT UP – PART 3: WHAT A GOVERNMENT SHOULD DO (OR NOT) AND AT WHICH LEVEL
© Jerry Mandarin 2022